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Avoid Discrimination Lawsuits

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Let’s face it, we, as asociety, are sue happy. As a business owner, one of the biggest things you canget sued for is discrimination. Since most tire dealers fall into the “smallbusiness” category, there is some protection. Under some circumstances, federalcourts will dismiss a lawsuit without a trial if the company is small enough.But it’s better to avoid problems by following federal laws governingdiscrimination.

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If you have 15 or moreemployees, your business must comply with Title VII provisions dealing withdiscrimination on the basis of race, gender or national origin, as well as withthe Americans With Disabilities Act. Twenty or more employees means followingthe Age Discrimination in Employment Act in addition to the others.

Although discrimination isnever acceptable, these exemptions recognize the special problems that smallcompanies have in maintaining a balanced workforce. Some communities may have ashortage of job applicants in one or more of the Title VII categories, makingit difficult to hire qualified applicants. Likewise, the limited ability of asmall business to make accommodations for some types of disabilities is notconsidered discrimination.

If a small company is asubsidiary of a larger company, and if the larger company is legallyresponsible for the smaller company, the exemption may not apply. Largercompanies that split into parts to skirt discrimination laws are not exempt.

However, even when federallaws provide an exemption, state laws may not. Some state laws expand thecoverage to more employers and include protected groups not covered by thefederal acts.

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Discrimination laws focus onwhat is fair and reasonable for the employee and the employer. Lawsuits areoften the result of thoughtless or careless personnel practices and policies.The best way to avoid the high cost of a lawsuit is to simply follow existinglaws to the maximum extent possible.

Take the time to review yourcompany’s personnel policies and practices with an attorney to ensurecompliance with both state and federal laws.

– Source: Tire ReviewBusiness Toolbox

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